A career in fitness may not seem conventional or common, especially as a full-time career that goes beyond a mere hobby or interest. It is even more of an unusual career choice for a 25-year-old aircraft engineer. But Mohsin Falee did just that. Mohsin founded Discipline Academy for Calisthenics in 2016 and since has been on a mission to spread and grow the concept in Bahrain.
So how does one go from engineering to fitness? Here's how Mohsin did it.
From Engineering to Calisthenics
I went to university to become an aircraft engineer.
Calisthenics started off as a hobby that I quickly got immersed in. I started competing in the Battle of the Bars Regional and International competitions and won the 3rd place among the GCC and 2nd in the International one.
Six months into training in Calisthenics, I decided to get certified as a trainer at the World Calisthenics Organization in Dubai. Once I got certified, I was offered the opportunity to join the Gravity Calisthenics Gym in Dubai and joined their team after about a year and a half since getting certified.
While I was in Dubai, I was offered an Aircraft engineering job. I chose to not pursue that, and decided to, instead, come back to Bahrain and build something of my own here. More importantly, I wanted to get more Bahrainis into Calisthenics and to introduce it to them as there isn't much awareness of other sports beyond football or such. The shift from engineering to fitness was quite a drastic one but I told myself ‘why not?’ I’d be doing something I actually enjoyed, and be able to share it with people in Bahrain and see it grow.
Building up Discipline Academy has been an interesting journey. I had planned to launch the academy in early 2016, but unfortunately, just one week before the opening, we had to close down due to unpredicted factors.
When that happened, I did get demotivated and depressed, and even had moments of self-doubt. But I didn’t give up and kept telling myself that the only way to make it happen is to just do it, as cliché as that may sound.
I got a 1000 BD loan from my brother and tried and do it on my own. I started very small, with renting out an outdoor space in Saar, fixing it up, and starting out with classes for 2 people.
One of the things we did in the beginning to spread the word and reach more people was performances, be in schools or even malls, where we would demonstrate the calisthenics moves. Word of mouth was very important to our survival as people would bring in more people. The academy began to grow slowly with time as more and more people joined with time.
During that period, I got a job as a Debt Collector to make sure I'd be able to sustain myself and the academy on a monthly basis. That was a very challenging period as I would work 14 hours a day; my working day started at 5 and ended at 12 am during which I had to balance training, a full-time job and running classes. But it had to be done to get Discipline Academy to where it is today, and I always had that in mind to keep me going.
Since then, we’ve moved to a bigger space in the Bahrain Financial Harbour, with other instructors joining the team and expanding the number of classes. Running the business single-handedly has been quite an experience but thankfully I’ve had support from family and friends when I needed it.
Creating an Impact
One of the things that are personally important to me is to reach out to young kids and teenagers and raise their awareness about health and fitness. A lot of young kids are easily impressionable by what they see and would opt for alternatives like steroids, for example, to look a certain way. I want to make sure that they have the right information and support if they choose to get into fitness.
At Discipline Academy the development of each and every member is extremely important, whether someone’s goal is to be fit, lose weight, or to just try out an activity. If someone comes in with a set goal, it is important to us that we help them achieve that in any way possible, even at times offering customized payment plans which are suitable to each client’s individual financial situation.
There is a lot of interest in the fitness in Bahrain, as more and more Bahrainis are getting certified as fitness trainers and getting into fitness-related careers. When it comes to how people here perceive careers in fitness, it's all comes down to how professionally it is conducted. If you take it seriously enough, so would others.